Who Believes in Conspiracy Theories in Venezuela?
24 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 19, 2017
Conspiracy theories are central to political discourse in Venezuela and are widely supported. In the Americas Barometer Venezuela survey from 2016-2017, 54% of respondents expressed agreement for at least one of three political conspiracy narratives unsupported by evidence. Political loyalties to Chavismo or to the anti-Chavista opposition drive much conspiracy theory belief, but not all. Politically motivated reasoning pushes some citizens toward a given conspiracy narrative but others away. Other factors that are distinct from political loyalties, including low education levels, predispositions toward Manicheanism and fatalism, and belief in the supernatural are associated with conspiracism. This paper presents new data on conspiracy theory beliefs in Venezuela as well as analysis of its individual-level correlates, then discusses how the current Venezuelan political environment fosters conspiracy and what changes might mitigate this phenomenon.
Keywords: public opinion, Venezuela, conspiracy theory, polarization
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